Friday, July 26, 2019

The Michigan Wine Collaborative's Riesling Roundtable

"There are about 3,100 acres of wine grapes in Michigan, and approximately 700 of them are Riesling, the largest acreage for any of our wine grape varieties. *However* Michigan can grow so many varieties well, we’ve hesitated to name just one as our official grape." -- Tweet from the Michigan Riesling Roundtable
Last month the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) hosted this roundtable via Twitter with a number of Michigan winemakers and wine influencers. The MWC is a non-profit organization with the following mission "to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the Michigan wine industry by supporting wineries, growers and other businesses and individuals connected to the industry – today and for future generations". One vehicle to this end was the Michigan Riesling Roundtable where influencers could purchase Riesling from a handful of participating Michigan producers and discuss these wines online.
Riesling has long been a fixture in the Michigan wine scene where the first vines were apparently Tabor Hill Winery planted the first Riesling in SW Michigan in 1969, which then lead to the first large scale plantings by Chateau Grand Traverse. Michigan Rieslings are known for their acidity as the cool climate slows ripening and allows the grapes to retain acids. These wines also contain subtle characteristics of minerality with bright tropic and or stone fruit notes. And some of the winemakers mentioned that Riesling is harvested last - particularly in very cool growing seasons - providing further acidity and flavor. Here are the wines that we purchased for the event:

St. Julian 2017 Reserve Riesling ($9.99)
This off-dry Riesling (1.2%) abv packs intense stone fruit and tropical flavors layered with minerals and slight petrol. The wine's abundant acidity balances the sugar for an easy-drinking experience.

St. Julian Mountain Road Winery 2017 Estate Riesling ($21.99)
Completely dry, but robust tropical, stone, and citrus character, again with light petrol, and refreshing acidity.

Amoritas Vineyards 2016 Dry Riesling ($20)
Similar notes as the Mountain Road - excellent fruit, minerals, and fresh acids.

Amoritas Vineyards 2017 Semi-Dry Riesling ($20)
This was a family favorite as the wine impresses with a drier profile because of the acidity and provides plenty of stone and tropical flavors.

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